The warden of the Caloocan City Jail has been relieved from his post following a riot that resulted in the death of six persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) and injury to 33 others, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) said on Tuesday.
BJMP spokesperson, Jail Supt. Xavier Solda, said Jail Supt. Lloyd Gonzaga has been appointed as officer in charge (OIC) of the facility, replacing Jail Supt. Neil Subibi.
The riot started at about 4 p.m. on Monday when two PDLs argued over an undisclosed issue, which resulted in a brawl between two warring gangs.
Solda said the jail remains under heightened alert.
“Nakipag-ugnayan na ang pamunuan ng Caloocan City Jail sa pamilya ng mga nasawi (The administrators of the Caloocan City Jail have coordinated with the families of the victims),’’ he said in a press statement.
After holding a dialogue with the PDLs, Solda said, the BJMP immediately conducted “greyhound operations” in the various prison cells to rid them of any contraband, such as improvised deadly weapons.
BJMP chief, Jail Director Allan Iral, ordered the BJMP – National Capital Region (NCR) to expedite measures that would bring back normalcy to the jail, where all activities were suspended, pending the result of the investigation.
“Bagamat ikinalulungkot ng BJMP ang mga pangyayaring gaya nito, tuloy pa rin ang aming trabaho para isulong ang mga programang makatutulong sa mga kapatid nating nasa piitan (Although the BJMP is saddened by incidents like this, we continue to perform our tasks to enhance the programs that would aid our brothers in jail),” Solda said.
Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered the BJMP to form a special investigating team from its national headquarters to determine the cause of the incident, determine who are responsible and if there were violations of standard operating procedures, and recommend interventions to ensure that the incident does not happen again.
“The DILG extends our sincerest condolences to the families of those who perished in this tragic incident. We assure the families of the PDLs and the public that we will pursue a thorough investigation as to why and how this incident happened,” DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in a separate statement.
After the incident, PDL activities have been temporarily suspended while their movement inside the facility has been restricted.
Malaya said they would gather the testimonies of the jail officers on duty, as well as other witnesses, and check the closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage to get to the bottom of the incident.
In the meantime, the DILG appealed to the Caloocan City government to fast-track the donation of a lot for a new city jail.
“The current jail is congested and overcapacity. We need to transfer to newer and better facilities for the benefit of our PDLs. We appeal to the Caloocan LGU to fast-track the donation of the lot intended for the new Caloocan City Jail,” he said.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has also joined the probe into the incident.
“The police is further investigating this incident in coordination with the BJMP because it involves multiple casualties. The PNP will also look at the presence of various opposing gangs inside the jail facility that may have started the riot because those who died belong(ed) to different groups,” PNP Chief, Gen. Dionardo Carlos, said in a separate statement.
Source: Philippines News Agency